A Raleigh Wedding Planner Spotlight: Gilded Bridal

Feature photo by Live View Studios. Knots ‘N Such is a Raleigh wedding planner.


Wedding dress shopping is quite possibly the most important, and most difficult, part of your wedding planning process. So, just how does the average bride find the dress of her dreams? I recently met with Susan, owner of Gilded Bridal, to answer this and other dress shopping questions!


About Gilded Bridal

Gilded Bridal is the hottest new bridal boutique in Raleigh, but Susan is no rookie! She’s been dressing her friends and family for their weddings and has always stayed current on the latest wedding fashions! Gilded Bridal’s key difference is that they work directly with small, independent designers to bring you uniquely stunning gowns! Aside from their connections, GB has a track record of maintaining a fun, relaxed, and accepting atmosphere where every bride can feel special! As Susan says, “Wear what makes you feel like you,” and we couldn’t agree more!


Photo by Live View Studios


Basics of Dress Shopping

I asked Susan if there was anything in specific that brides should know going into their appointment. She advises that brides always buy for their current size, because dresses can easily be taken in, but they are more difficult to let out! Susan also suggests dress shopping sooner, rather than later, as it may take up to 6 months for your dress to come in!

This can be a very stressful time for a bride, but for expert dressers like Susan, the more detail you give her about what your dream dress looks like, the easier it is for her to find it for you! As a Gilded Bridal bride myself, I simply told her what I was looking for and the first dress she brought me was my dream dress!


Photo by Live View Studios

Dress Trends

When it comes to trends in the wedding dress business, Susan knows it all! However, while things like colored dresses, including hand painted watercolors, are big for bridal fashion at the moment, the Raleigh bride has other looks in mind.

  • Keeping traditional, Susan’s brides tend to stick to white dresses, but of course classic colors like cool grays or light blushes are always acceptable!
  • Fitted dresses that show off a bride’s beautiful figure are still in, including mermaid, trumpet, and anything in between!
  • Plunging necklines are a dramatic way to capture an audience’s (and your groom’s) attention!
  • Decorative backs (or no backs at all) on wedding dresses have proven that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!
  • Sleeves on wedding dresses have been making a beautifully boho statement that Raleigh brides can’t seem to get enough of!
  • Capes have been very popular as of late, and are especially lovely for Fall or Winter weddings!


Photo by Live View Studios


If you are still looking for your dream dress, say yes to dress shopping at Gilded Bridal! With their expertise, network of designers, and fun atmosphere, you’re sure to find “the one”!


Happy hunting!




PBD Coordinator


The First Look: A Raleigh Wedding Planner’s Guide

Feature photo by Riley MacLean Weddings. Knots ‘N Such is a Raleigh wedding planner.


Wherever you are in your wedding planning process, a question that is going to come up in discussion is how are you going to answer, “First look or no look?” Tradition has taken an evolution in the last few years, so here are three popular options to help you navigate that discussion!


Traditional Traditions


The tradition of not seeing the bride before she walks down the aisle is mostly superstition. Its origin is supposedly from arranged marriages, but the idea is that it is bad luck. This aside, it certainly has its pros and cons!


  • The emotional build-up
  • Extra time to get ready
  • Sharing the big reveal with friends and family
  • Less chance of ruining your dress

  • Lacks intimacy
  • Slightly more nerve-wracking
  • Heightened expectations
  • Requires perfect timing


Raleigh Wedding Planner & Florist

Photo by Lauren V. Allen Photography


The Modern Moment


The modern moment that more brides are choosing is the private first look prior to the ceremony. This is a newer evolution on the older tradition where, with the photographer, the couple have a grand but private meeting. This may be at the ceremony space or in a pre-planned meeting of choice. The photographer prepares the groom in place and then guides the bride to be prepared for the big “turn around” moment. Some couples choose to exchange gifts now, some couples just exchange embraces. They make this moment work for them and allow a moment to “breathe” before the wedding itself.


  • A calm moment of intimacy
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Saves time on after ceremony/cocktail hour photos of the couple
  • Gorgeous portraits filled with genuine emotion, minus the pressures of family

  • Earlier preparation time
  • Tighter schedule with less flex time included
  • The dress has a higher risk of damage with prolonged exposure prior to the ceremony


Bride & groom portrait

Photo by JB Haygood Photography


The “No-Look” First Look


There is one final mid meeting point between tradition and modern. The “no look, first look” or what I call the “first touch”, where the bride and groom still have a private meeting time, just without physically seeing each other, possibly holding hands around the corner or having some other element of decoration as the separation. This is a great way to combine tradition and modern styles, and definitely a conversation to have with your photographer if you are struggling with fully choosing either side.


Raleigh Wedding Planner & Florist

Photo by ASB Photography


There is a moment in planning where decisions must be made, and believe me when I tell you, everyone will have an opinion. Ultimately what it comes down to is: what works for you as a couple, what makes sense with your personalities?  At the end of the day, you are married, so this is just one small step toward the grand finale! Whatever you choose, your groom will definitely be at a loss for words to describe your beauty!




PBD Coordinator